SOCCER

Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 11/7/18

With Bayern Munich a commanding home favorite, Robert Lewandowski could go nuts. Which other players are in a good spot for Wednesday's main slate?

The Champions League, the best soccer competition on the planet, is back, and FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests for the entirety of the campaign. Wednesday's main slate starts at 3 p.m. EST and will not include the two 12:55 p.m. matches.

Here's the full main slate.

Group Stage
Wednesday, November 7th
Shakhtar Donetsk at Manchester City
Real Madrid at Plzen
Ajax at Benfica
Manchester United at Juventus
AEK Athens at Bayern Munich
Hoffenheim at Lyon


This is a loaded slate that boasts some of Europe's elite sides. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are the two biggest favorites. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Bayern (93.8%) and City (91.3%) own superb implied win odds, with Real Madrid (81.5%) and Juventus (63.6%) also comfortable favorites. City and Bayern are both 2.5-goal home favorites with 3.0-goal implied totals while Real Madrid is a 2.0-goal favorite on the road. Juve (-1.0) and Lyon (-0.5) are also favorites with the Ajax-Benfica match listed as a pick'em.

Let's scan the slate and check out some players to earmark at each position.

For those who last played DFS during the 2017-18 UCL campaign, FanDuel has made some changes to their scoring system, so make sure you're up to date on how the new settings impact things.

Forwards

Robert Lewandowski ($13,500) -- We're spoiled for forwards on this slate, with Lewandowski and Sergio Aguero -- more on him shortly -- in superb spots. Bayern are 2.5-goal home favorites versus AEK Athens, and they've got a 3.0-goal implied total, both of which tie Manchester City for tops on the slate. Lewa has five goals and three assists in nine starts in the Bundesliga this campaign, and he's got two goals in three UCL appearances. While his goal-scoring ability is unquestioned, he's usually boom-or-bust in DFS (a whopping 29 goals but just 2 assists last year in domestic league play) as his UCL game log shows: 31.1, 3.0 and 27.3 FanDuel points. That makes him a slightly less terrifying fade if you opt to go that route.

Sergio Aguero ($13,000) -- There's a good chance Aguero is the slate's highest-owned player if he starts for City, so you've got to think about fading him for game-theory reasons, but unlike Lewa, Aguero isn't wholly reliant on goals for DFS production. He's dished out four assists to go with his seven goals in 11 Premier League matches, and he's also handled penalty duties, boosting both his floor and ceiling. With City likely to run wild at home against Shakhtar Donetsk, you've got to get some exposure to the Citizens. Aguero will come with a lot of chalk, but this is a ceiling spot for him. If Aguero is rotated as City prepare for this weekend's Manchester derby, Gabriel Jesus ($10,500) would be awfully appealing.

Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,000) -- Did I mention this slate has some pretty nice forward options? While Ronaldo isn't going to be a low-owned dude by any stretch, there's a chance Juve may not see as much ownership as they should with City and Bayern in such delightful spots. But Juve is a 1.0-goal home favorite against Manchester United, and the 1-0 win for the Italians at Old Trafford in the last round flattered United. Juve were the dominant force in that one, seeing 61% possession and generating more total shots (14 to 6) as well as more shots on target (5 to 2). Ronaldo is flying in his first season in Turin, netting seven goals with five assists through 11 Serie A appearances. Juve's chief penalty taker, Ronaldo makes for a great play against one of his old clubs.

Haris Seferovic ($7,500) -- It looks like either Seferovic or Jonas ($6,000) will start up top for Benfica as they host Ajax. The match is a pick'em, with each side having a 1.25-goal implied total, and getting any starting number-nine for a price this cheap has some appeal, especially on a slate where we'll be trying to jam in as many stars as we can. Benfica fell 1-0 at Ajax in the reverse fixture and are in the midst of a three-match losing skid. If Benfica want to have any chance of getting out of the group, they need a win in this match, so they should be going for it at the Estádio da Luz. Whoever they start up front is a decent, cheap dart throw at a goal.

Midfielders

Raheem Sterling ($10,000) and David Silva ($9,000) -- Sterling has followed up last season's breakout effort with six goals and five assists in his first nine EPL games of 2018-19. Silva is having another top-class campaign, scoring three goals with two assists in nine starts. Silva has found the back of the net in each of City's last two UCL matches, producing FanDuel scores of 36.3 and 32.9 in those games. Sterling hasn't opened his goal account yet in European play this year, but he could go off in a match in which City should see a ton of the ball.

Nabil Fekir ($8,000) -- After a month-long absence, Fekir returned to the Lyon lineup last weekend, and he's probably a bit under-priced with Lyon a home favorite against Hoffenheim. This match was a 3-3 fireworks display in the reverse fixture, and it could once again be a high-scoring affair as it's tied for the slate-high with a 3.5-goal over/under. Fekir started his UCL campaign in dazzling form, notching a goal and an assist on his way to 44.9 FanDuel points at Manchester City. He followed that up with an assist in a 16.9-point outing against Shakhtar. Fekir's recent injury absence could cause him to fly under the radar a bit, but he's a fantastic option in midfield. If Fekir doesn't start, Memphis Depay ($9,000) would see a big boost in value.

James Rodriguez ($10,000) -- James has the most appealing ceiling of Bayern's midfielders. He's scored three goals in eight appearances (five starts) in domestic league play, and he paces Bayern with 2.3 key passes per match, per WhoScored. While James hasn't scored a goal and owns just one assist through three UCL matches, he's been credited with six chances created. James should spend plenty of time on the ball in a match Bayern will likely control.

Isco ($9,000) -- Real Madrid's struggles have been well-publicized this year as they sit a hard-to-fathom seventh in La Liga through 11 matches. Despite their poor form, this is a Madrid side that can flip the switch and throttle Viktoria Plzen if Los Blancos are up for it. Oddsmakers expect them to be, making Real 2.0-goal favorites with a 2.75-goal implied total. Isco has just one goal and two assists in eight La Liga appearances (five starts), epitomizing Real's struggles. But those 2 assists are tied for the team lead, and he's averaging 1.5 key passes per match. He should be on the ball a good amount and can cut open any defense at any time.

Pizzi ($7,500) -- Similar to what we talked about with Benfica's forwards, Pizzi is a decent option this week with Benfica at home in what is pretty much a must-win spot. Pizzi is Benfica's star man, leading the team in goals (4), assists (4), passes per game (62.4) and crosses per game (2.4). The Portuguese giants should be on the front foot, and Pizzi's goal-scoring odds are boosted by his role of penalty taker. While going too heavy on Benfica could backfire, pairing Pizzi with one of their forwards would make for a contrarian stack that has some under-the-radar upside.

Defenders

Benjamin Mendy ($7,000) -- Mendy has stepped into the Manchester City lineup this season and filled one of the few holes this side had, giving Pep Guardiola a pacey attacking threat from his left-back spot. Mendy has been a DFS monster in EPL play, racking up five assists in eight matches, tying him for the team lead. City will likely monopolize possession versus Shakhtar, meaning Mendy will be unleashed to do his thing in the attacking half. On top of that, Mendy has a great shot at a clean-sheet bonus with Shakhtar boasting a mere 0.5-goal implied total. He's a great stacking partner with any of City's attackers, and the only negative here is that Mendy will likely be pretty popular.

Joshua Kimmich ($6,000) -- For the most part, everything that was just said about Mendy can be repeated here. With Bayern a comfortable home favorite, Kimmich should be bombing forward from his right-back spot early and often, and AEK Athens' 0.5-goal implied total gives him superb clean-sheet odds, as well. He's got 3 assists in domestic action while averaging 1.8 key passes per match. The fact he's this cheap is a head-scratcher, to be honest, and it'll likely make him super popular.

Sergio Ramos ($5,500) -- Plzen's 0.75-goal implied total gives Ramos solid clean-sheet odds, and he's taken over penalty responsibilities as well as some free-kick duties with Ronaldo out of the picture. The penalty duties make him a very unique asset among defenders, and Ramos is also a massive aerial threat on corners. In all, he's averaging 1.5 shots per game and has 3 goals in La Liga play. The scoring format FanDuel introduced this past summer lessens the DFS impact for most center-backs; Ramos is an exception.

Alejandro Grimaldo ($6,000) -- Grimaldo has been a force this year from his left-back spot, and he's another modestly priced Benfica option worth checking out. He's got one goal and one assist in nine Liga NOS starts, and he's second on the team in passes per game (59.7) while averaging exactly one cross per match. Grimaldo showcased his ceiling with 37.7 FanDuel points at AEK Athens earlier in the UCL campaign. The knock here is that the clean-sheet odds aren't too pretty with Ajax carrying a 1.25-goal implied total.

Goalies

Ederson ($5,000) -- Ederson and Bayern's Manuel Neuer ($6,500) are the two keepers to target for the win and clean-sheet bonuses. Given that Ederson is $1,500 cheaper than Neuer, the Brazilian is the preferred play. If he gets a clean-sheet win, he can score 17.0 FanDuel points even if he's not asked to make a save, and with oddsmakers giving this match an implied score of 3.0-0.5 in favor of City, it's hard not to love his chances of getting a clean-sheet victory. With that said, the floor here is scary, because there probably won't be much save volume to fall back on if City concede a goal, which is something we've seen twice this year with Ederson in UCL play, as he owns FanDuel outputs of 7.5 and 1.0 points.

Vasilios Barkas ($4,000) -- AEK Athens starting goalie, Barkas has two things going for him -- he's very cheap and should see a ton of save opportunities. He has one big thing going against him -- Bayern have a 3.0-goal implied total and may very well put three or four past him. It's risky, but if Barkas could hold Bayern to just a goal or two, he could amass five or six saves and end up posting a solid fantasy day while giving you more coin for the rest of your lineup. Of course, he could be a complete landmine, as well. Ales Hruska ($3,500) would be in a similar boat if he starts for Plzen.


Austan Kas is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austan Kas also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username akas247. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.